This is my first time trying out a nursing forum... hoping I may find some guidance from those of you who work in a NICU. Long story short, I went to nursing school to become a NICU nurse. I graduated with my BSN last May and had a heck of a time finding a job. During school I made a great contact with a NICU manager at a wonderful hospital in my area. I was chosen out of hundreds of applicants for an interview for their new grad program in the NICU. I was so excited and had my heart set on this position. I made it through 3 interviews before they told me they had to chose the other applicant because he/she had previous CNA experience in a NICU or had their senior practicum in a NICU. I was devastated. I applied for dozens more NICU jobs in and out of state but did not even get an interview. I know it's rough for most new grad RN's right now trying to find work, especially in a specialty area, so as I was still applying for various positions, I began doing pediatric home health care since I at least would be able to work with kids. Shortly after I took that job, a job in an orthopedic unit kind of landed in my lap. I took that position since I would get benefits and experience, and make more money! I have only been there for 4 months, but I have learned bucket-loads! I don't mind the work and love that I see new things every day.
However, I know in my heart that I still want to work in a NICU. And now I don't know how to make that transition! I have tried to make connections, but it's just tough being new and all! The NICU in my hospital is so small, and they just had to lay off some of their nurses because there wasn't enough work for them. So transferring in-hospital is pretty much out of the question.
I know that I owe it to my manager to stay where I'm at until I've been there for a year, but does anyone have any suggestions that I could be doing in the meantime to prepare myself for getting a NICU position within the next year? What will make me stand out? I will have had one year of RN experience, but none in a NICU. It seems like every single job posting I look at for NICU jobs states "must have 1-2 years recent NICU experience". How do I get that experience in the first place??! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!!